Friday, July 13, 2012

Goat Cheese Makes Everything Better

A memorable incident that occurred during the first year of Chance and I's marriage was the infamous purchase of a log of "chèvre" (i.e. goat cheese). We had just returned from a trip to the cold, northern parts of Michigan with my parents where we had stayed in a lovely condo, enjoyed tubing and skiing for a few days, and relaxing by the warm fire. One night my mom and I ventured out to the grocery store to collect ingredients for that night's dinner: roasted asparagus, a green salad and chicken breasts: stuffed with goat cheese. After that meal I fell in love with the stuff all over again and wanted to make the same meal for Chance and I when we got back to our little Florida apartment.
A few weeks later I made a visit to Publix (although in those days we mostly shopped at Wal-Mart) and meandered over to the gourmet cheese section of the deli. There I beheld what I had been looking for: one 4 oz. log of chèvre. I snatched it up and went to check out. I ended up making the chicken for dinner and used sun-dried tomato spread in addition to the goat cheese which was quite a hit. I don't really remember how the subject came up, but Chance probably asked out of curiosity how much the goat cheese cost. I probably showed him the receipt, not thinking much of it, and he practically fell out of his chair: $5.99 (or some amount that he deemed outrageous for a log of cheese)! This began a long conversation about our grocery budget and what my views were of spending money on food (something that would be the topic of conversation for some time to come). Needless to say, we didn't quite agree with each other but were able to laugh it off later, as I 'owned up' to my oversight and apologized not telling him before I splurged on the goat cheese.

Fast forward to today, almost a year and a half later, we shop at Sunflower Market (a natural grocer/farmer's market here in Dallas). While flipping through their weekly ad I spotted it: a SALE on goat cheese! $2.99 per 4 oz.! HOORAY! At my last grocery store visit, I picked some up and went home a happy lady to a happy husband. This past week I used the goat cheese on salads, in wraps, and in one recipe that is worthy of sharing. Chance had his wisdom teeth out on Monday (ouch!) and has been eating only soft foods, like yogurt and soup, so that left me to cook dinner for myself. I decided to do something easy (go figure) and roasted some vegetables, cooked some pasta, and tossed it all together -- topping it with goat cheese of course. And POOF - instant goodness.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta topped with Chèvre
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
1 yellow pepper
1 red onion
1 small yellow or sweet onion
2 cups of brown rice rotini pasta (or whole grain if you're not Gluten Free)
2 thin slices or crumbles of plain goat cheese
1 tbs. olive or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cut up all vegetables into 1/2 inch chunks and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with either canola oil or drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies. Sprinkle with garlic powder, and any other seasoning you might care to use. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are browning and tender. At the 10 minute mark, cook your pasta according to directions on the box/bag. When the veggies are finished roasting take them out of the oven, drain your pasta, add to a bowl or plate, mix them together, then top with a generous amount of goat cheese - to your liking.

This recipe is DELISH! I had the leftovers at work the next day and it was still good. Like I said, goat cheese just makes everything better...

Additional recipe using goat cheese - 'Paris Cafe's (WPB) "Moulin Rouge" Salad
Toss together 1) organic mixed salad greens, 2) 5-7 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 3) A handful of pistachios (shelled) or unsalted pumpkin seeds, 4) Goat cheese crumbles, 5) a 1/2 to 1 whole avocado, diced 5) Some sort of balsamic dressing (I like Dijon/balsamic vinegar/evoo) -- this salad is SOOO good! The homemade version competes with Paris Cafe's but I would encourage anyone visiting West Palm Beach, FL to visit Paris Cafe on S. Olive Ave -you will not be disappointed! Enjoy :)

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